My condition began with just a few harmless one-sided conversations with my TV. "Run a reverse here" or "watch for a fake punt" are a sampling of what I'd say. But in no time I had progressed into the harder stuff like, "what were you thinking calling a running play on third down!" or "how can you miss that tackle?" or "if you can't make that catch you shouldn't be in the game!"
Before I knew it I found myself sitting at my computer all hours of the day, wearing a three day old beard and four day old boxers, shaking my head at coaching changes and second-guessing Coach Amato's recruiting strategies. I even doubted a player's heart if I felt they were saddled with an injury for longer than I thought they should be. If there was a chatroom I was in it. If there was a message board, I was logged onto it. I distanced myself from my family and friends because they just didn't understand. Nothing else mattered.
But as the saying goes, you have to hit rock bottom before you can begin your recovery. That moment happened for me when I fell off a 2nd story balcony last weekend (it's a long story…actually, it's a very short story, I was on a balcony and I fell off of it). Anyway, I sprained the a/c joint of my left shoulder. The pain was excruciating. I couldn't dress myself, driving was a pipe-dream, sneezing was akin to being struck by a lightening bolt with halitosis, but worst of all…I couldn't get on the internet. Typing was far too painful and sitting at my computer caused my shoulder to throb.
Here's my point to all this: I had a mere second degree shoulder sprain and I was calling for Esther to bring me home. A second degree shoulder sprain is to a separated shoulder what Bazooka Joe is to Charlie Chaplin; yet football players play with separated shoulders on a regular basis. I would have rather been strapped to a chair and forced to watch the 1999 State/Carolina football game on a loop with Starship's "We Built This City" blaring in the background than have someone even breath on my shoulder.
It's not only my shoulder, though. I recently began training for the Suzuki Rock n' Roll marathon in San Diego, but after two grueling weeks of running anywhere between two and ten miles a day, I had to give it up. My knees simply refused to give me their blessing. My doctor told me that there's nothing specifically wrong with my knees and that it's just a matter of literally running through the pain. Riiight. F that f'ing idea. Case in point, I played the manly sport of tennis not too long ago and the next morning I was left hobbling like Willis Reed on his worst day.
My doctor gave me some stretches to do each morning until I'm healed enough to go back to my normal yoga and pilates regimen (stop snickering). I touch my knees, then my elbows, then my shoulders, the roll my head from side to side and that loosens me up. My girlfriend watched me go through my routine and made a very astute observation: I was doing the Macarena. How's that for a quality health care provider? The Macarena is now a part of my life.
Let me also explain that I am an athlete of sorts, so it's not like I live a sedentary lifestyle, void of calcium and balance. But I now have a much clearer and profound respect for what athletes go through to play a game. This respect has spread to my general outlook of our program, so I'll just trust the professionals to do the job they were hired to do. If you want to know how to type a TPS report, or make an apple martini, or what's good on TV, I'm your guy. But I know my limitations now.
So here I stand before you (or if truth be told, lean before you…my right knee's killing me) taking the first (painful) step towards recovery. Am I going to be able to quit arm-chair quarterbacking cold turkey? Of course not, I'm a man not a machine. The key is moderation. I happen to have been born with a larger hypothalamus than normal people and I have a propensity for arm-chair quarterbacking, so it's not completely my fault. I'll still question play-calling and I'll still revel in my 20/10 hindsight, but before I question anyone on the IR, I'll do the Macarena first and that should pretty much put it all in perspective.
Stay safe and stay tuned…